Understanding Hiring and Onboarding for Digital Dealerships

People have always impacted profits in auto sales. When dealerships hire the wrong people, fail to train them properly, and send them off to the frontlines of auto sales, they often make the wrong decisions behind the scenes and make the wrong impressions on customers.

But as the industry shifts to a more digital model and more customers buy cars online, hiring, training, and keeping the right employees matters more than ever before. In an increasingly complex digital world, those dealerships that take steps to attract, hire, and keep top talent will find a competitive advantage in a new age of digital sales.

Why Integrated Technology Matters

Today’s top candidates seek out companies with brands and reputations that fit their perceived idea of providing a good place to work. Young workers demand that their employers supply them with the latest technologies, in the same way they view health insurance, paid time off, and other benefits. They understand that having the right technologies can make their work easier and more interesting.

Implementing integrated technologies—that speed up workflows, remove friction and barriers, and allow employees to focus on what they do best—can help dealers attract and retain top talent. Especially as more and more employees are required to learn and adapt to ever-changing, and increasingly more complex industry regulations in a digital workspace, those dealerships that provide their people with the means of doing their jobs effectively will attract and keep employees that positively impact profits.

Why Onboarding Matters

Even when dealerships do everything they can to attract and hire the right candidates, the industry turnover rate is so high (46% for employees and 80% for salespeople), it’s costing dealers billions of dollars every year. That’s because employees become most productive after three years on the job. But with an average employee tenure of just 18 months to 2.4 years, dealers aren’t reaping the productivity rewards after spending considerable time and money to find and hire employees.

Hireology CEO Adam Robinson suggests that in order for dealers to keep employees longer (and see the results of their productivity), they must implement onboarding that is more structured and focused on employee retention. When dealers do this, 66% of new hires are likely to remain with a company longer than three years. The importance of proper onboarding is further punctuated by the fact that new employees are expected to learn the ins and outs of a digital retailing environment. If they’re not given proper training from the start, with technology playing a central role in the onboarding process, dealers risk losing employees and the money spent to bring them onboard.

How to Build a Diverse Hiring Strategy

Attracting, finding, and hiring the right employees requires broadening the pool of potential candidates to include a greater diversity of backgrounds, thoughts, and people. This means making more of an effort to find and interview more diverse recruits, including adjusting job descriptions that only appeal to existing industry workers and reaching out to different audiences. That includes recruiting candidates with an understanding of the technology they will be required to use as the industry continues to evolve.

Of course, many of these candidates are already among the top, sought-after talent that other dealerships are seeking to employ. So, in addition to diversifying the employment search, dealerships can implement three specific practices to attract and hire the very best applicants.

  1. Build a Top Career Site44% of all hires, and 57% of career site applicants are considered top candidates.
  2. Adjust Expectations—List and look for experience in technology, online retail, or software management and see what kind of applicants turn up.
  3. Rethink Dealership Roles—Business has changed to involve much more of an online and at-home component for customers, so it’s time for a mindset switch to hire employees that can carry an omni-channel sales process from beginning to end.

When dealerships expand hiring practices, onboard with employee retention in mind, and implement integrated technologies, they can recruit and keep employees that will positively impact profits, especially as the industry continues to shift to a more digital model.

To learn more strategies about hiring and keeping the right employees, check out our guide, 9 Ways to Reduce Turnover and Improve Retention: A Dealer Principal’s Guide to Hiring and Retaining Talent.

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